after adventuring to diergaarde blijdorp for the afternoon, a few details stick with me. one is that i can never pass up a zoo, despite knowing that tickling my sense of wonder comes at a price: deep sadness.
before agreeing to visit the zoo, it appeared to me as an apparition in the night as we biked home half-drunk from a four course meal topped off by sampling the chef’s grandmother’s limoncello recipe. we barreled around a corner and were met by its old-timey guilt gates lit up by neon dutch script and line drawings of two giraffe heads. the conversation went something like:
"what the hell is that?!"
“the zoo! it gave my neighborhood its name.”
“is it depressing?”
“i have to go to that.”
just to clarify: ‘depressing’ is relative. and, as luck would have it, i saw the two most antiquated displays first (lions and bush wallabies). this had the effect of immediately ramping up my sadness and acuity for improper treatment, higher than it probably would have been otherwise. nonetheless, the following thoughts linger:
- if one must see the electric fences, it is best if one cannot also hear the clicking of the power coursing through their wires.
- why put an animal with incredibly sensitive hearing—a fact touted by the placard on display, explaining its hunting habits and disproportionate ears—nearest to the rails leading to rotterdam centraal that bisect the park?
- children should be banned from zoos.
- the distance between animals and visitors is markedly more slim than in the states. this means that one of the prairie dogs had become so accustomed to human presence that i witnessed no fewer than three adults scratching it on the forehead while it ate within arm’s reach.
- perhaps since the netherlands requires a permit for everything else on earth (e.g., the lengthy lessons and exams process required to get a golf permit), it should also demand an education and permit scheme for even adult attendees (see previous bullet point).
also, to be fair, i always feel this way when i leave a zoo. i can’t stay away, but it’s not good for my psyche to actually go. i genuinely care, and i’ve long said i prefer animals to people… maybe one day i’ll learn my lesson.
on the bright side, today i found out that a giraffe has a tongue long enough to pick their noses with! you eliminate that middle-man, giraffes! and there’s not much that compares to watching a grown man locked in a staring contest with a gigantic african gorilla, only to lose to the “beast.”
and those, i suppose, are exactly the reason i still go to the zoo as an enthusiastic yet disheartened grown-up.